We scoured the country to find the most sizzling salons and innovative stylists to show us what they do best—create show-stopping hairstyles! If you're a stylist or salon-owner who would like to share your photos, please send an email with your contact info and salon's website link to BeautyEditors @essence.com.
Stylist: Anu Prestonia
Salon: Khamit Kinks
Location: Brooklyn, NY
ESSENCE.com: How long have you been styling hair?
PRESTONIA: I began making a living in the natural hair care business in 1978, over 35 years ago.
ESSENCE.com: What is the best part of your job as a stylist?
PRESTONIA: The best part of my job is seeing the results, how my work impacted others. How the client would respond to my work, how beautiful the designs were, and how my clients were transformed, each time was like a gift.
ESSENCE.com: What do you love most about styling natural hair?
PRESTONIA: I found out pretty early on that each person’s hair is uniquely different, like a fingerprint. So what I loved most about styling hair was the creativity and the challenge of making each client’s hair a work of art that best suited them and their lifestyle.
ESSENCE.com: What is your number one piece of advice for someone who wants to go natural?
PRESTONIA: Learn as much as you can about your hair. I recommend working and playing with one’s own hair as a means of getting to know and love your texture and avoid desiring the textures and hair lengths of others.
ESSENCE.com: Why do you think hair is so important to Black women?
PRESTONIA: Everyone is initially judged by their appearance and we all want acceptance. For so long we were told that we were unattractive and our hair was ugly. We couldn’t change our skin color or facial features, but we could change our hair and we did. Now we are changing it back because we are now aware that like our skin color and our features, we are beautiful. We don’t need to emulate the beauty standards of other people.